Sugar Island Bakery & Bookstore in Surf City, NC
by Esme Addison
I discovered Sugar Island when I was looking for bookstores that I wanted to tour in promotion of my first novel, A Spell For Trouble. The combination of bakery AND books was too good to ignore. Plus coffee. They roast their own line of coffee and serve coffee too. So… bookstore. Bakery. Coffee shop.
I could literally live there.
And this is what I thought before I arrived.
Ohmigosh – it IS the cutest. The quirkiest place ever. The best kind of new and used bookstore with all sorts of… just stuff arranged just so. For example, there’s a section on the craft of writing. Those books are set up around a desk and typewriter. There’s a section for old cookbooks, filled with high tea accoutrement and spices. And so on and so on.
There’s lot’s of whimsical pieces. Doll house furniture. Cute floppy rabbits…
This kind of bookstore might not be for everyone. But it is for me. And my mother. And my mother-in-law. And my neighbor. Okay, literally everyone I know loves this store. But it’s not the kind of bookstore that is sleek and minimalist with a clearly defined collection of books.
It’s not that store.
It’s better. It’s fluid and creative and cluttered and eccentric. And the co-owner, Shawn knows where every book in the store is. He handsales new and used. Just tell him what you want and he’ll give thirty minutes on this will be a good book for you.
I told Shawn, who is a veteran how my series was an odd mix of witch and military (those themes begin in A Hex For Danger and go full-on in book three and after) and how I wanted to explore the lines between magic and science. And he was like: Yeah, I know what book you need to read.
I couldn’t believe it! I have a hard time understanding what I’m trying to do sometimes because while it makes sense in my head, I’m not always sure readers are going to get it. But he led me to a book called The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O and told me with 100% confident this is what you need to read. And he was right. I read that book which was amazing. And it gave my confidence an added boost knowing that my mix of cozy and mystery and magic and science and mermaid and military had precedents!
Shawn also roasts his own line of coffee which is available in the shop along with other house brands with cute local names. His wife, Samantha or Sam is the baker. And the collector of things. She’s responsible for the esthetic and all of the cute quirky things that accompany all the books.
The baked goods are delicious and homey and hearty and did I mention delicious? Yes raspberry bars – I’m talking to you. They also have a small selection of local gourmet goodies for the foodie in you.
The first event I had with them was virtual. But the second was in-store. I was able to meet local fans. Autographed and sold a lot of books. And they even created and served a coffee drink I created in the book: Paris In Spring, a mixture of lavender, honey and cinnamon.
You will occasionally see the owners sons in the store. Almost always I’ll see the grandmother running the register. And their staff is super friendly and welcoming.
And… they’re one row from the beach.
If you visit Topsail beach and you love coffee or books or baked good… you should stop by.